Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

War Memories, Imperial Ambitions: Commemorating World War II in the US Pacific National Park System
by Bartels, Rusty Ray, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2016, 247; 10165868
Abstract (Summary)

This project argues that the National Park Service (NPS) functions as an agent of the state in perpetuating American imperialism throughout the Pacific World through presenting WWII narratives of sacrifice as worthy of inclusion into the nation. These narratives, I argue, reinforce American occupation in islands and regions that have contested relations to the nation. This project is informed by scholarship in rhetorical criticism of public memory and in American Studies analyses of the nation as an empire. Methodologically, I have combined fieldwork at each park site and official public interpretive materials, with historical archives related to the formation, design, and management of the parks to understand the relationship between past and present. Part I of this project examines War in the Pacific National Historical Park in the American territory of Guam and American Memorial Park in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. I focus my argument here on how NPS narratives of WWII cannot be separated from historical and contemporary American military interests in the Mariana Islands and the Pacific World. Part II approaches the three units of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Hawai’i, Alaska, and California, with each state’s focus, development, and accessibility being appreciably different. I argue that all are concerned with the legacies of militarized land use and narratives of sacrifice for and belonging to the nation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rodriguez, Robyn
Commitee: Kaplan, Caren, Perrault, Sarah
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Cultural Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Empire, Memory, National park, Pacific, World war ii
Publication Number: 10165868
ISBN: 9781369202441
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